REVIEW: Gotye presents a tribute to Jean-Jacques Perrey

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The person we know best as Gotye has reverted to his birth name, Wally De Backer, for his 4 shows at Sydney Festival. In these shows he presents a tribute to the man that he names as his spiritual grand-father and the influence for his music: French musician, Jean-Jacques Perrey.

His love for Perrey’s music as well as for the ondioline, the little-known instrument, on which Perrey played and now, in this show, De Backer plays, is clear. De Backer smiled from the beginning to the end of the show. His passion clearly shown when he speaks between songs about the music, the life of and his meeting with his idol. There was even a moment in which De Backer stopped himself from talking as he realised he had been talking and not playing music for some time.

Wally De Backer photo by Stuart Armit

Accompanying him was Joe McGinty on an instrument called Moogs, a type of synthesiser with a keyboard which was capable of producing a wide range of sounds.

Rob Schwimmer amused the audience with his facial expressions while creating strange and other worldly sounds with the theremin, ondioline and moogs.

Gideon Brazil came on stage for 2 songs to add his clarinet to the rest of the instruments.

Wally de Backer photo by Stuart Armit

The audience was stunned and enthusiastic. Before one particular song, De Backer explained that it was going to show the extent of sounds capable of being produced by the ondioline. He invited the crowd to come closer to the stage to see how he played the ondioline. About 30 people practically ran towards the stage to have this opportunity!

It is a show that not only shows De Backer’s passion but also presents a good summary of some early synthesiser music. It’s a show which is for enthusiasts of De Backer, of Jean-Jacques Perrey, of French music or just of early electronic music.

Unfortunately, it is nearing the end of the show’s tour having played at the MOFO festival last weekend and finishing its run at the Sydney Festival this week. However, if you are in Melbourne you can see the show this weekend at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

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